15 hours stranded at a service station - then they missed their ferry!

North Walsham High School. Picture: Google Maps

North Walsham High School. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A group of weary students and teachers arrived back from a school trip to south-western France about 22 hours late, after their coach broke down.

Deputy headteacher Angela Waters was on the school trip to France. Picture: NWHS

Deputy headteacher Angela Waters was on the school trip to France. Picture: NWHS - Credit: Archant

The youngsters from North Walsham High School had been on a six-day watersports trip at an activity centre run by Rockley.

But on their way back from the centre on Friday, June 14, the group of about 50 children and five members of staff were stuck for more than 15 hours outside the town of Alencon in Normandy, because their coach had broken down.

Deputy headteacher Angela Waters was on the trip and said: "We got back to the school at about 9.30am on Saturday, which was about 22 hours late. We were supposed to get back at about 11am on Friday.

"We could have been back sooner but we missed the ferry to Dover by minutes, so we had to wait for the next ferry, two hours later."

The group had waited at a service station while the coach was repaired.

Ms Waters added: "The coach driver was brilliant. We were allowed to stay at a service station. I hate to think what would have happened if we had been stuck on the motorway.

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"The kids were warm and it was lovely weather. The coach company sent us 1000 Euros for food.

"The kids were absolutely phenomenal. They found a grassy area and were playing games. But I've had no sleep for two days. I'm very glad to be home."

The school said on its Facebook page: "Finally home after a stressful couple of days. Thank you to all our parents for their support and kind messages. A big thank you to the staff and, of course, the biggest thank you goes to our amazing children."

Headteacher Neil Powell said the oil compressor on the coach, which was part of the package Rockley had provided, had broken and there had been difficulties in finding a replacement coach.

He added: "It was the Le Mans race on the weekend, so pretty much every coach in France was booked."

Rockley have been contacted for comment.

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